Save the Tamales! A Treasure Hunt of Creative Advertising

Even in my groggy morning stupor, I couldn’t help being curious about the graphic posters lining my route to work. “Save the Tamales from Ronald McDonald,” they read. The posters looked almost political in nature – black with an iconic fist raised into the air, grasping a — tamale?

What could this be about, and what did it have to do with McDonald’s? I don’t know if it was my love for design or for tamales that made me slow down to make out the URL on the bottom of the poster, but I couldn’t wait to look it up!

The site was a single, long page featuring rotating images of the posters plastered throughout the city, adjacent to a running twitter feed. Just above the images was a quote: “Tamales are a thing of the Past” – McDonald’s Ad.

Scrolling down to “Learn Masa,” I read the full story. Apparently, a recent ad campaign from McDonald’s mocked those who turn to trendy health foods when they could be enjoying a juicy hamburger. (Personally, I love both.) But when using this tactic to market its McBurritos in Mexico, McDonald’s took it too far – dissing the tamale. Oops! Media backlash and uproar ensued.

Scrolling further, I reached the bottom of the page perplexed. This was obviously a pro-tamale guerilla marketing scheme, but who was behind it? I clicked on “Taste the Movement – order up here” not knowing what to expect.

Texas Tamale Company – you sly dogs! You might have seen their tamales for sale at HEB or Berings, or even ordered a pack online. They wisely took advantage of the situation, inviting customers to keep tamales top-of-mind, knowing that would ultimately give way to mouthwatering cravings. Both the posters and the site are well designed and do their job enticing people to learn more and share on social media. I appreciate that the campaign has its own look and feel, adding to the air of mystery.

The only thing missing is for the brand to have a stronger tie to the movement on the microsite. Without any subtle branded hints, users may never know who is behind the clever campaign. If I hadn’t clicked on “Taste the Movement,” I would have never found out. Some users may never get that far.

Overall, the treasure-hunt feeling of discovery made me smile. It also made my hungry. Check out the Texas Tamale Company here.


Photo by Katie Schumm. De-saturated and overlayed on red.

About Anna Maida

Anna Maida

Every day is a warm, happy day for Anna, akin to giggling baby unicorns intermingling with butterflies in lush green meadows in the springtime. As a Designer, this eternal optimist works with our Design Directors to design project solutions and assist with production for both print and web. She works with clients such as Consolidated Graphics (CGX), Argos, Nabors Industries and FMC Technologies. Anna received her BS in Advertising from the University of Texas and completed her graduate studies in graphic design at Portfolio Center in Atlanta.

View all posts by Anna Maida →

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Abby Lasaine Vazquez
  • Anna Maida
  • April Lundy
  • Ashley Rundall
  • Bethany Andell Haley
  • Doug Hebert
  • Edmee Micheli
  • Jackie Dryden
  • Robin Tooms
  • Sarah Salimi
  • Savage Brands
  • Stacey Piefer-Havel
  • Yana Ossenova



Savage Brands is an agency that mobilizes minds, drives performance and creates results. We work with companies experiencing transition, growth and transformation by employing Savage Thinking® to uncover and articulate their purpose.

Through strategy, planning and design communications, we help leaders build purposeful brands that increase employee engagement and customer loyalty, enabling leaders to achieve their most ambitious visions.

4203 Yoakum Blvd., Fourth Floor
Houston, TX 77006
T 713.522.1555
F 713.522.1582
Want to Get in Touch?
Driving Directions


This design mark is a federally registered trademark owned by Savage Design Group, Inc., U.S. Registration Number 4,067,258.

© 2017 Savage. All Rights Reserved